With the exception of that time a huge rock wiped out the (feathered) dinosaurs, 2020 undoubtedly is the strangest and worst year in the long history of Spaceship Earth.
And the weirdness extended to the sports world.
As this miserable year nears its merciful end, we decided to compile a list of the 13 weirdest sports moments that 2020 produced. Why 13, you ask? Because it’s a fittingly stupid number — that’s why.
Anyway, here we go:
(Note: These moments are not ranked in any particular order.)
March 11: Rudy Gobert’s positive COVID-19 test upends sports world
Any lingering doubt over whether the coronavirus would significantly impact sports was forever erased March 11, when the NBA postponed a game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder after Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.
The NBA later suspended its season, with a majority of other sports leagues following suit. Further adding to the weirdness was that, days prior, Gobert jokingly touched reporters’ microphones in an attempt to mock the COVID-19 threat.
Side note: It’s wild that all it took was one positive case for the NBA and other leagues to shut down, whereas these days leagues like the NFL largely ignore locker room outbreaks (more on that in just a minute).
Sept. 13: Tom Brady starts first game as a Buccaneer
Tom Brady’s 20-year New England Patriots career ended in March when he announced his decision to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For many, Brady’s departure didn’t feel real until they saw him take the field Sept. 13 against the New Orleans Saints wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform.
Honestly, it still feels strange seeing the future Hall of Famer wearing a Tampa Bay uniform. It just doesn’t make sense.
Dec. 2: Steelers and Ravens meet for Wednesday night football
Originally scheduled to play on “Thursday Night Football,” the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers saw their matchup thrice postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks on both teams. The weirdness culminated with a Wednesday night matchup nearly a week later as the NFL continued to prove its make-it-up-as-we-go approach to COVID-19.
The Steelers eventually earned a 19-14 victory in a game that absolutely stunk.
Oct. 27: Justin Turner tests positive for COVID-19, celebrates on field without mask
“Stupid” might be the best word to describe this story, but “weird” also works.
Los Angeles Dodgers star Justin Turner returned an inconclusive COVID-19 test prior to Game 6 of the 2020 World Series, but took the field anyway. When additional test came back as positive, Turner was removed midway through the game.
Despite it all, a maskless Turner took the field to celebrate with his teammates after they knocked off the Tampa Bay Rays to win the championship. It was a strange, shocking display of poor decision-making.
March 24: Tokyo Olympics officially postponed
The postponement of the 2020 summer games felt inevitable, but finally was announced in late March. Sure, the idea of hosting the Olympics during a global pandemic felt impossible, but the reality of the summer games not going on as scheduled nevertheless was a weird pill to swallow.
The International Olympic Committee plans to cancel the Tokyo games if they are unable to be held in summer of next year.
Oct. 27: Kevin Cash pulls Blake Snell from World Series Game 6
Kevin Cash’s decision to lift Blake Snell in the sixth inning of a game in which he was dominating likely cost fans a World Series Game 7, and might have cost the Rays a shot at their first title.
Cash after the game insisted the decision was his and his alone, rather than a mandate delivered by Tampa’s analytics-driven front office. Regardless of who’s to blame, it was strange to see such blatant lack of feel for the game in such a crucial moment.
Aug. 11: Bruins-Hurricanes playoff game postponed due to overtime marathon
The NHL’s bubble postseason was a blessing, but it still presented multiple problems.
The Boston Bruins were scheduled to face the Carolina Hurricanes on Aug. 11 in Game 1 of a first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series. The two teams were set to play at Scotiabank Arena following the conclusion of the Columbus Blue Jackets-Tampa Bay Lightning game, which also was played at the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Well, the Bolts and Jackets wound up going to a fifth overtime, consequently forcing the postponement of Bruins-Canes Game 1 to the following day at 11 a.m. ET — a very weird time for a playoff hockey game.
March 22: NASCAR drivers compete in virtual race amid season pause
Few leagues handled a pause to their season better than NASCAR.
Cup Series drivers organized and formed the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, a weekly series that saw some of NASCAR’s brightest stars face each other as well as of the best competitors in sim racing. It was kind of awesome, but it also was a weird reminder of what sports had been reduced to in 2020.
Nov. 28: Mike Tyson boxed
We still can’t believe this thing happened. And honestly, we wish it hadn’t.
Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. squared off in late November in an exhibition boxing match that was just an all-around strange thing to watch. Tyson deserved to win, but the match was judged a draw, likely setting the stage for a rematch nobody is asking for.
Nov. 15: Tiger Woods shoots 10 on par-3 at The Masters
Watching the greatest golfer of all time shoot a ten on a par-3 is as weird as it gets.
The shocking lowlight occurred during the final round of Woods’ forgettable 2020 Masters performance. The awful score is the highest single-hole score of Woods’ illustrious career.
The video of this travesty is difficult to watch:
Sept. 7: Novak Djokovic disqualified from U.S. Open for hitting line judge
Talk about bizarre.
Novak Djokovic, probably the best tennis player on the planet, was disqualified from the 2020 U.S. Open after he struck a ball that hit a line judge on their throat. The act surely wasn’t intentional, but it still represented a lack of control from a player was favored to win the tournament.
The bizarre season occurred a little over a month after Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 after hosting a huge party. Tough year for the Joker.
Dec. 14: Lamar Jackson had “cramps”
Yeah, this was a weird one. And it also maybe-probably-definitely was kinda gross.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson exited his team’s primetime matchup with the Cleveland Browns due to what he later described as “cramps.” After watching video of the 2019 NFL MVP scurrying to his locker room, many fans assumed Jackson, well, had some business to take care of.
He eventually returned to the game and led the Browns to a thrilling, comeback victory. The “cramps” break remains one of 2020’s strangest sports moments.
Entire year: Everything related to COVID-19
All of it. It’s all be strange, terrible and difficult to make sense of.